Escapism; Good or Bad?

Have you ever just needed to not think or not be present in your life? Sometimes this is exactly what is needed for you to switch off after a stressful day at work or with the kids, however, how many times do you find yourself avoiding something you need to do, wishing you were someone else or just ‘being absent’?

Modern life lends itself to this, TV, social media, internet surfing, online shopping and so on, how familiar does that sound? There are times however when you may find yourself doing this more than is healthy, when a relationship is in trouble, your job makes you miserable, or you just feel stuck, it can be very easy to stick your head in a book or lose yourself playing computer games or scrolling through your phone. For some people it may be the cupboard contents that keep them occupied or a few glasses of wine, the thing is, these can creep up on you, taking up your free time, and become a not very positive habit, especially since lockdown. Do you now find you’ve learned to fill time with behaviour that does not enhance your life?

If you are reading this and thinking ‘nope’ then great! If you are reading this and it resonates then read on. Being aware of our behaviour or thinking is a big part of changing it. Let me tell you about a client who had a few sessions with me & who is happy for me to share some of their story:

John is a single parent, he wants to get healthy, lose weight and eat better, when we spoke, he said he did not have time to cook or go to the gym, so he’d done nothing, it was really getting on his nerves that he knew what he needed to do but could not seem to do it. We looked at each goal, then we looked at how important they each were, since there were heart issues & diabetes in his family, it was really important, he wanted to have a long life, see his kids grow up, walk his daughter down the aisle, play with his grandchildren. We looked at his life with a microscope, we identified ways that he could do what was needed but without it taking loads of precious time every day.

When we got John to look at his screen time, he realised how many hours he spent on his phone, when we looked at how much time this broke down to each day, he was shocked, 3 hours every evening!

When we looked at his lifestyle, he’d sit up late surfing the channels on his TV, looking through Facebook and checking his email, he’d then berate himself when he got on the scales or clothes did not fit and when his list of jobs just kept getting longer & longer! We agreed that if he went to bed at 10pm or 11pm at the latest he’d get up earlier, could maybe go for a walk or use the time to prepare a dinner in the slow cooker. He could do a short walk, or maybe do a workout from YouTube or from an app on his phone. John agreed that was achievable and he committed to doing it.

Next we looked at his work, he only worked within 5 miles of home, he’d bought an expensive bike which rarely got used, we discussed whether he could cycle to work on the days he did not need the car for meetings, he really loved this idea, especially as he could cycle on the days that suited him and not every day come rain or shine.

To free up time, we looked at whether he could pay a cleaner, that would mean he could spend the time with the kids, go walking or cycling with them, take them out places & do the things he wanted to do, he decided that financially that was not a priority but he did decide we could ask the kids to do a bit more around the house, this would help to teach them independence as well as show them how to be organised & have some responsibility. He decided he could also explain to them about how them helping him, would mean more time together doing fun things.

John had a few sessions with me, spaced out over a period of 6 months, he felt after just one session he could implement some of what we discussed, then work together in each subsequent session to fine tune things or work on anything that was still an issue such as motivation or if things were slipping etc. I spoke to John on a follow up call, which I do with all clients after a few months. John said he was transformed! He’d lost weight, had a much healthier diet, felt more refreshed from a better sleep pattern, not to mention his relationship with his kids had really grown, he said his only regret was that he had not kicked himself up the backside sooner, he also told me that although he could have done all of the above things without me, the bottom line was he had not, probably would not and was glad he had not waited until a heart attack to get started.

See what you can do when you address issues? When you face matters rather than hide from them? It is always about priorities, what is important in your life, sometimes you need someone like me to point out the obvious and make you accountable.

 

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